Chanel No.5

Chanel No.5

3.6

967 reviews

57% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.2

Price: $$$$

Package Quality: 4.2

Price: $$$$

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on 8/27/2005 1:44:00 PM

Age: Unknown

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

It seems to me that some perfumes are liable to become the victims of their own success, and this perhaps more than most. It invariably reminds us of someone or something we have known before, and so necessarily we end up prejudiced, either against or in favour of it.

My own association is certainly a happy one. My grandmother wore it and my mother equally used to wear it - in pure parfum form, when she was about to go out with my father. She had an elaborate, elegant way of taking the crystal square-shaped flacon out of its large, heavy carton box, the epitome of a getting-ready-for-a-grand-evening ritual.
And definitely, it smelled divine, even to my humble, ignorant 5-year-old nose.

Growing up, I remembered this scent only too well and was in awe of it to such a degree that I did not dare wear it until I was 29 - just gives you an idea of how timid I was! - I clearly recall my pride at finally wearing it, like a supremely feminine badge of honour, and feeling that perhaps, at last, I was indeed worthy of it.
I think, in retrospect, that probably I was right to wait.
No way I could have pulled it off earlier. This is not a young
girl's perfume. You have to sort of DESERVE it, having developed that confident, joyful, unapologetic, womanly aroma that comes only with age. You must understand what being a woman is all about, and still keep some of your childlike, youthful, enthusiastic innocence intact.
Talking about perfumes for "duchesses, bourgeoises, and cocottes" (it will take me several centuries to get past the unmitigated snobbery of that statement), this is a fragrance fit for a Queen. Totally dignified, yet understated and respectful of others; regal, yet warm and approachable; fully conscious of its own worth, yet humorous, unpretentious and unstuffy; mature, yet remembering just what it felt like being sixteen; stunningly attractive, yet immaculate, flawless, perfectly clean.


I've loved it ever since I first discovered it, and often wear it as an evening scent, hardly ever during the day. I own it in both EDT and PARFUM forms, but do not care for the EDP,
which I find rather linear, too aggressively aldehydic, and lacking in compelxity.

Reading some of your reviews I was impressed by the strength of emotion this perfume commands, and felt, I must admit, sympathetic to both camps.

This fragrance goes bad or "turns" easily in warm weather, so I should think it's possible that some of you may have been unlucky, sampling a bad bottle.
Much as I admire it, a musty smell of a spoiled perfume is beyond even my powers of endurance. - And just to be on the safe side, I keep my entire Chanel No. 5 collection in the fridge, for a full 6 months, starting in early May
and ending with the the first cool days of blissful October.

Secondly, I have found that Chanel No. 5 (Made in the USA) and the same scent (Made in France) are NOT the same.

The American edition has a bizarre top note that I do not understand, a buttery, almost cloying accord. It improves after a while and becomes the dear familiar scent I know and appreciate, but why go through the agonies of that first stage? - - - Chanel, are you hearing me? - - -

The French version however is true to form, the first accord of the top notes being
bitter-sweet, seriously grown-up, supremely elegant, before developing into the famous flowery, powdery bouquet of rose, jasmine, iris, violet, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, and amber, that has conquered the world.
This is happiness in a bottle for me, I am always delighted to wear it again, but never, ever, overdo it - just for that reason. The world has seen so much of Chanel No. 5, that rather than live in dread of becoming associated with the million clichs
it evokes, I prefer the lightest, most effervescent trail of scent around me that I can more easily make my own, recognizing my treasured memories of it.
The added bonus is feeling secure in the knowledge that this is one privileged, protected area where TIME does indeed stand still. I confess there is some solace to it, in this fast-changing, frantically-moving, impossibly-paced world of ours.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ADDENDUM: My mother is at this moment valiantly struggling to regain her strength, following a stroke. It is to her that I would like to dedicate this review.


57 of 69 people found this helpful.



on 7/27/2014 11:37:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Silver, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Child Alert! Don't try this if you are one.

46 of 55 people found this helpful.


Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

I love this and I'm only 20. I think it smells so cozy and woodsy on my skin. Also, whats with all the "eww grandma" comments? Thats so rude. Whats wrong with grandmas or old people, we all get old?

30 of 31 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I have to laugh as I read all of the negative reviews on this legendary scent. There was a time when I was younger (in my early 20's let's say), and I, too, could not get a handle on it and could not wear it. It was a little too much of everything, and seemed to wear me instead of the other way around. It was strong, it was potent, it screamed from the mountain tops. It was sharp and shrill and sour and suffocatingly powdery all at the same time. Oh, what a difference a couple of decades make, however! I'm chuckling softly to myself, "Ah, yes, dear girls. Wait and see. Wait and see," because, let me tell you body chemistry makes ALL the difference. These days, I'm hard pressed to find a scent that is more beautiful on my skin than the fabulous Mme. No. 5. Believe me when I say that IT. IS. DEVASTATING. ON. MY. SKIN. Truly glorious. Roses and jasmine cream--with a little bit of vanilla or something sweet to beguile you. It's the one scent that literally everyone in my family asks me to wear (both children, husband, even the textbook "blunt" mother-in-law, I kid you not). They all go crazy for it. "You should wear that ALL the time. It's yummy." Which is funny, because it's not even my favorite perfume. I tend to be drawn to more androgynous scents--those with vetiver, citrus, wood, incense--"quirky" things that appeal to me on a more cerebral level, and that are generally not so appealing to the masses. However, I can appreciate the appeal of No. 5--and why it makes people want to hug me. Something in it just "clicks" and it seems to come from my pores--like my heart is reaching through my epidermis and pulling them into a warm embrace. I'm not even sure what possessed me to give it a whirl again other than I believe someone sent me some as an extra in a swap. I cannot walk away from it now, however. To all of you naysayers I urge you to give it time. If it chooses you (believe me, you will know if it does), there are very sweet rewards coming your way. :) ♥

28 of 29 people found this helpful.


on 7/17/2010 12:46:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

It makes me sad when people call this an old lady perfume. Mostly because I wear it, and, at 21, I am certainly not an old lady. Unlike other girls my age, I prefer to smell like a woman and not like a candy store. This, along with Guerlain's Shalimar, is the most womanly perfume ever created. It smells luscious and beautiful, and reminds me of beautiful French women, such as Coco Chanel herself. Call it an old lady perfume if you must, but it won't stop me from wearing it.

25 of 25 people found this helpful.


on 3/9/2012 3:42:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

MMMmmm chanel no5. I remember when I first smelled no5, at the time I was really not into perfumes. It was a few years ago when I first started college. My great aunt that lived next door to my family (for my whole life!) had just recently passed away and I was with my mom in her house going through her things, when I noticed in her bathroom cabinet this little tiny white box outlined in black with "chanel" on the lid.

I gasp and was so excited, "could it be?!" I opened up this tiny box and low and behold there was a full teeny bottle of chanel no5. extrait inside. I noticed that it was an old vintage jar because the perfume was VERY strong and the color VERY dark..but inspite of this I dabbed some on my wrists for the heck of it and continued about my day with my mom. All the while sniffing my wrists through out the day and liking it more and more. So warm, so riche, so comforting. I cant even describe it! Even though this bottle was lord knows how old the perfume still had an amazing smell.. and I was HOOKED!

This perfume mixes incredibly with my chemistry, and my husband really does indeed love my chanel no5.I will spritz a small amount into his letters and care packages I send him, for he is in the military and deployed to afghanistan right now. Id like to think when he is all alone in an old military tent in the middle of nowhere in the desert, he opens his letters and closes his eyes and remembers my smell and that he also thinks "ahhh..chanel no5"

24 of 27 people found this helpful.


on 7/27/2012 8:39:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Green

Other people have described Chanel No 5 flawless so I'll take a slightly different approach. Reading over the reviews I notice one thing: it seems younger reviewers (whether your current age or in the past when you first smelled it) do not care for this. It takes a refined nose - and smelling and wearing a lot of inferior scents - to appreciate #5. It is the fortunate lady who has liked this from youth!

A little bit of my perfume history... I have always been a white floral fragrance girl. Especially jasmine. I've worn Fracas, Michael Kors, Joy, Kai, Child and KM's pikaki lei in turn and loved them all. I've strayed a bit too into other territories like Angel, EA's Green Tea or Egyptian Musk but I always come back to jasmine. I liked Joy (similar in composition to Chanel No 5 being based around roses and jasmine) but something about the base notes in it don't quite sit right with my chemistry. Enter No 5. I love everything about it! Starting with the story behind its creation.

(taken from the Chanel No 5 Wikipedia page) Talking about the creator of the fragrance, Ernest Beaux...

"The polar ice, frigid seascape, and whiteness of the snowy terrain sparked his desire to capture the crisp fragrance of this landscape into a new perfume compound. Beaux perfected what was to become Chanel No. 5 over several months in the late summer and autumn of 1920. He worked from the rose and jasmine base of Rallet No. 1. altering it to make it cleaner, more daring, reminiscent of the pristine polar freshness he had inhabited during his war years. He experimented with modern synthetics, adding his own invention "Rose E. B" and notes derived from a new jasmine source, a commercial ingredient called Jasophore. The revamped, complex formula also ramped up the quantities of orris-iris-root and natural musks.

The revolutionary key was Beauxs use of aldehydes. Aldehydes are organic compounds of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They are manipulated in the laboratory at crucial stages of chemical reaction whereby the process arrests and isolates the scent. When used creatively, aldehydes act as "seasonings," an aroma booster. Beauxs student, Constantin Weriguine, said the aldehyde Beaux used had the clean note of the arctic, "a melting winter note." Legend has it that this wondrous concoction was the inadvertent result of a laboratory mishap. A laboratory assistant, mistaking a full strength mixture for a ten percent dilution, had jolted the compound with a dose of aldehyde in quantity never before used. Beaux prepared ten glass vials for Chanels inspection. Numbered 15 then 2024, the gap presented the core May rose, jasmine and aldehydes in two complementary series, each group a variation of the compound. "Number five. Yes," Chanel said later, "that is what I was waiting for. A perfume like nothing else. A womans perfume, with the scent of a woman." "

I couldn't agree more! It's crisp and refreshing yet floral and sensual too. Now let me talk about the differences (at least to my nose and chemistry) between the different formulations.

Parfum: the classic, magical original. Get this if you can afford it. Save your pennies if you can't. The smallest bottle currently starts at a $120 and a few drops is all you need.

EDP: this is the budget version of the parfum as, on my skin, it smells closest to the original. (Some people say the EDT is closer but that's personal chemistry).

EDT: a more "shimmering" version of the original. It seems like it has more aldehydes or something in it. It smells almost like champagne to me - in the best sense. Fades very quickly on me. Try this to see if it works for you.

Eau Premiere: this really is a completely different perfume. It smells like it has fruit and white musk added to the original and maybe some aldehydes taken out. I could see how this could appeal to younger people. But, ironically enough, given their protests to the powder smell (orris root), it dries down on me to a pretty solid powdery finish.

I haven't tried the sensual elixir but it seems pretty popular so you might try that formulation.

Bottom line, this fragrance is a masterpiece that at the very least deserves respect even if you decide you don't love it. Keep sniffing it, try the different formulations, and keep in mind the climate you live in as well as your skin chemistry. (One frangrance will smell one way in me but completely different when I travel to another climate so beware of that). This is as much of an old lady fragrance as a Chanel purse. It's a classic for everybody!
EDIT: I do love this perfume, and I *might* repurchase but I think Child is still my HG!

22 of 25 people found this helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Chanel No. 5 was one of those fragrances that for the longest time, I simultaneously admired and feared. I made it a point for many years to take a whiff of it everytime I passed by the Chanel counter, and each time came to the conclusion that it wasn't for me. But once more, I would walk by the Chanel counter weeks or months later, and admire No. 5 in its shining glory.


On my 20th birthday, I received Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere as a gift from my father, which became the bridge that connected my love of No. 5. To me, Eau Premiere was everything that represented what I wanted to be as a newly 20-year-old woman: kind, elegant, worldly, yet independent and strong. Now in my mid-twenties, I found myself craving something a bit richer, bolder than Eau Premiere, and I resolved to try No. 5 once more. That led to my discovery that Chanel No. 5 EDP, EDT, and Parfum is not merely a difference in perfume concentration, but represent completely different time periods and perfumers, and made with different materials.


The Parfum was the original, created by Ernest Beaux in 1921. The Eau de Toilette was created in 1952, by Henri Robert. The Eau de Parfum was created by Jacques Polges in 1986. Only then did I discover it was EDP that really caught my heart, which appeared more creamy, luscious, and rounded than the EDT or the Parfum.


Based on my explorations online, No. 5 purists tend to favor the EDT and Parfum, for it remains closest to the original concoction from Ernest Beaux. I myself have found that to be case, for the EDT and the Parfum amplify the aldehydes that give it that vivacious, sparkling quality. The aldehydes are played down in the EDP, and replaced by greater quantities of vanilla and sandalwood. I own both the Parfum and EDP, and while both have a heavenly drydown of vanilla and musk, the aldehydes remain stronger throughout the composition in the Parfum. I love both, but find myself reaching for the EDP the most, as I adore the warmth and elegance of it. I mostly save the Parfum for evenings out or special occasions, as you need a special confidence to wear it. I'm not a fan of the EDT, I find the aldehydes too overpowering in it, and I keep waiting for the warmth of the musk and sandalwood but it pretty much disappears on my skin by that stage.


If you always wanted to like No. 5 but found that it didn't suit you, I recommend trying all the variations if possible. They are very different and each is almost like smelling an entirely different perfume, from different periods. Perhaps it is simply Chanel's clever marketing that has enticed me all these years to love No. 5, using classic icons like Marilyn Monroe to represent the perfume. Either way, I love it and each time I spray it, I feel instantly more glamorous and elegant.

21 of 21 people found this helpful.


on 4/26/2010 11:03:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Chanel No. 5 is a timeless elegant fragrance. It is one of my all time favorites. While some fragrances evidently severely offend certain people, I loathe how the scent is compared to elderly ladies in a most offensive way. There was another fragrance I reviewed and like very much. The person before me likened the fragrance to "old ladies that peed their pants". Enough. You will be there some day yourselves and perhaps wearing Depends.

21 of 22 people found this helpful.


Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

A whisper of Spanish. Dim lighting. Dancers swirling around. My first memory of Chanel No. 5. I was sixteen and going dancing in Mexico for my first time. Feeling like I needed to be more mature (as all girls at sixteen feel), I rushed through my mother's makeup bag and, finding this perfume, spritz just a bit on my neck, wrists, and behind my knees (just like Teen Vogue said!) I ended up meeting a handsome boy from the village and having a wonderful week exploring Mexico with him as a tour guide. At the end of the week, when parting, I asked him what his favorite memory was. He replied, in a heavy Spanish accent, "The first time I met you...you danced well and you smelled...beautiful." That was it. I've worn Chanel No. 5 ever since.
This scent is original and it smells like a woman. As a graduate student, I commonly see all of my peers prancing around in more floral or sweet scents. However, I take pride knowing that I'm wearing a scent that not only attracts, but also smells like it could be natural. It is complex and a bit imperfect, just as Coco wanted it to be. This imperfection creates the beauty. Like Kate Moss stepping out with mussed hair, the imperfection of this scent adds that je ne sais quoi factor. Chanel No. 5, however, has become my perfect scent and I will never let it go. Just like Alon from the village said, I "smell...beautiful." And I will NEVER let that go.

21 of 23 people found this helpful.


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